U.N. Disabilities Treaty Blocked; U.S. Sovereignty Issue Raised

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 5, 2012 | Go to article overview

U.N. Disabilities Treaty Blocked; U.S. Sovereignty Issue Raised


Byline: Sean Lengell, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Conservatives' deep-seated suspicion of the United Nations was on high display in the Senate Tuesday, when Republicans blocked ratification of a U.N. treaty aimed at ending discrimination against the disabled despite assurances it wouldn't affect U.S. sovereignty. Supporters of the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities say the treaty - based in part on the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 - is non-binding and wouldn't change or challenge U.S. law. But conservative groups - who long have considered the U.N. a threat to U.S. self-rule - weren't convinced the committee created by the treaty to promote the rights of disabled people globally has only an advisory role, and campaigned hard against it The U.S. Congress, American civil society and special interest groups are far better positioned to conduct such reviews than a committee of disability experts from Bangladesh, China, Qatar and Tunisia, which are current members of the [treaty] committee, said Steven Groves, who heads the Heritage Foundation's Freedom Project.The Family Research Council said the complex treaty would open a Pandora's box of legal headaches for the U.S. This is a treaty with 50 Articles, and anyone who suggests ... that it doesn't require 'one change to U.S. law' must be waiting to pass it to find out what's in it, said a statement on the group's website after the vote. Thirty-eight Republicans appear to have agreed and voted Tuesday to reject the treaty. And while 61 senators supported it - including eight Republicans and two independents - the tally fell five votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass. No Democrat voted against it. The U.N. adopted the treaty in 2006. President Obama agreed to it in 2009, though it failed to move through the Senate - which must ratify all treaties - until this year. It has been signed by 154 nations and ratified by 126.Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican and a leading treaty opponent, said similar U.N. treaties have forced demands on national governments that fall outside their legal, economic and cultural traditions.The senator said he particularly was worried U.S. parents could be denied the right to home-school a child with disabilities if the U. …

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U.N. Disabilities Treaty Blocked; U.S. Sovereignty Issue Raised
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